The Daily Grind*** (Brighton Fringe Festival – Marlborough Theatre)

Posted: May 14, 2016 in Theatre

the daily grindThis review was originally written for The Reviews Hub: http://www.thereviewshub.com

Testosterone fills the room as the audience enters to the sight of Laurie Brown in tight- fitting underwear, exercising his manly physique. However, it transpires that this routine is not what he means when he refers to his “daily grind”. A key point of this show is that first impressions can be misleading and, when Brown eventually addresses the audience, he destroys the macho image by assuming a persona something like a younger Julian Clary. His character is a gay man who is addicted to using Grindr. For the benefit of the uninitiated, this is a gay dating app, but, in the context of the show, it could more correctly be described as an app that facilitates hook-ups for casual, anonymous sex. Aided by projections of Grindr-like suggestive images, Brown enlists audience help to photograph him for his profile on the app, focussing on the superficial to make him look desirable. He knows that trying to bring out the person that he really is would be pointless, as others he meets are never what they seem. He then embarks on a mission to snog with as many members of the audience as will consent, presumably to demonstrate the emptiness of random encounters, but he drags this segment out for too long, making it tiresome. The first half of the show needs less audience interaction and more scripted humour with substance. However, when the mood becomes darker, Brown drops his comic persona and gives an authentic account of his character’s obsession and the world of habitual sex and drugs that it leads to. The Daily Grind is flabbily constructed, spending too much of its running time (under an hour) hanging around to little purpose. If Brown can tighten it up, making it sharper and funnier, it may become a far more powerful indictment of a very modern incarnation of hedonism.

Performance date: 12 May 2016

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